Library School Changes the Brain
posted June 4, 2012 11:10 AM by Maya Bery
I recently returned from a trip to see my parents, who have just moved
continents and countries from India to the Netherlands. When I arrived, they had
just received their shipment of possessions from India, and were still in the process
of setting up. My parents are lifelong readers, and for as long as I can remember,
our house has had endless numbers of bookcases overflowing with books,
sometimes several levels deep, and not counting boxes in the garage or basement.
When I got to college, I enrolled in a major program very similar to the one my dad
had done more than thirty years earlier, and to my delight, I was able to use some of
his vintage books. Nobody else had inherited copies of the Communist Manifesto,
the Marx-Engles Reader, or even The Protestant Work Ethic, but I did.
Yet, there was never a set method of organizing the books in any real or
meaningful fashion. This never bothered me before, but it bothered me now. My
librarian brain, fresh from the experiences of cataloging last fall, itched to devise a
more systematic method than simply "fiction and non-fiction," particularly amongst
my father's books. My mind ran wild with possibilities: economics could go in one
area, history in another, subdivided at least by region if not by country. Personal
books would go elsewhere, his beloved travel books were already on a shelf by
So why am I sharing this thrilling anecdote with you all? To show you that
library school changes you.
It's a delightful process, realizing that the way in which
your mind works and views things has shifted, and it's funnier still when you realize
that your coursework really has sunk entirely into your brain. I credit the excellent
teaching and assignments I've been given for accomplishing this shift, and now I
know for certain (if I didn't already before) that this is what I am meant to be doing.
Librarianship in all its forms fascinates me, but more importantly, it informs how I
now interact with the world of information, including its organization and retrieval.
I'd never thought much about these topics before I came to Simmons; now I can hold
an animated discussion on how a simple Google search isn't always (or even often)
the best way of finding the right answer or resource. So thank you, Simmons
GSLIS, for changing my brain. I appreciate it.